September 21, 2009
Apostasy and the Islamic NationsBy Andrew G. Bostom
The 1990 Cairo Declaration, or so-called "Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Islam", was drafted and subsequently ratified by all the Muslim member nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Now a 57 state collective which includes every Islamic nation on earth, the OIC, currently headed by Turkey's Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, thus represents the entire Muslim umma (or global community of individual Muslims), and is the largest single voting bloc in the United Nations (UN).
Both the preamble and concluding articles (24 and 25) make plain that the OIC's Cairo Declaration is designed to supersede Western conceptions of human rights as enunciated, for example, in the US Bill of Rights, and the UN's 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The opening of the preamble to the Cairo Declaration repeats a Koranic injunction affirming Islamic supremacism, (Koran 3:110; "You are the best nation ever brought forth to men...you believe in Allah"), and states,
The preamble continues,
In its concluding articles 24 and 25, the Cairo Declaration maintains, [article 24], "All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'a"; and [article 25] "The Islamic Shari'a is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification to any of the articles of this Declaration."
These statements capture the indelible influence of the Islamic religious law Shari'a -- the Cairo Declaration claiming supremacy based on "divine revelation," which renders sacred and permanent the notion of inequality between the community of Allah, and the infidels. Thus we can see clearly the differences between the Cairo Declaration, which sanctions the gross inequalities inherent in the Shari'a, and its Western human rights counterparts (the US Bill of Rights; the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights), which do not refer to any specific religion or to the superiority of any group over another, and stress the absolute equality of all human beings.
Enshrined in the First Amendment of the US Bill of Rights is the guarantee that laws may not be made that interfere with religion "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.". Absent the right to freedom of thought, or conscience, other rights such as the right to freedom of speech are rendered meaningless. US Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo reasoned elegantly in Palko v. Connecticut (1937) that,
This principle of freedom of conscience is also upheld in article 18 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which further makes explicit the fundamental right to change one's religion,
The gravely negative implications of the OIC's Shari'a-based Cairo Declaration are most apparent in its transparent rejection of freedom of conscience in Article 10, which proclaims:
Ominously, articles 19 and 22 reiterate a principle stated elsewhere throughout the document, which clearly applies to the "punishment" of so-called "apostates" from Islam:
Punishment by death for apostasy from Islam is firmly rooted in Islam's foundational texts -- both the Koran (verses such as 2:217 , 4:89, and their classical exegesis by renowned Koranic commentators such as Qurtubi, Baydawi, Ibn Kathir, and Suyuti) and the hadith (i.e., collections of the putative words and deeds of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, as compiled by pious Muslim transmitters), as well as the sacred Islamic Law (the Shari'a). For example, Muhammad is reported to have said "Kill him who changes his religion," in hadith collections of both Bukhari and Abu Dawud. There is also a consensus by all four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence (i.e., Maliki, Hanbali, Hanafi, and Shafi'i), as well as Shi'ite jurists, that apostates from Islam must be put to death. Averroes (d. 1198), the renowned philosopher and scholar of the natural sciences, who was also an important Maliki jurist, provided this typical Muslim legal opinion on the punishment for apostasy:
The contemporary (i.e., 1991) Al-Azhar (Cairo) Islamic Research Academy endorsed manual of Islamic Law, 'Umdat al-Salik (pp. 595-96) states:
This doctrinal and historical legitimacy of Shari'a-mandated killing of apostates from Islam is affirmed by Heffening in his scholarly review for the authoritative, mainstream academic reference work, the Encyclopedia of Islam:
As noted by historian David Littman, writing in early 1999, Adama Dieng, then a prominent Muslim Senegalese jurist, alerted the international community to the Cairo Declaration's profoundly dangerous impact. Dieng, speaking for the International Commission of Jurists and the Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights at the Commission on Human Rights in February, 1992, decried the Cairo Declaration, which under the rubric of Shari'a, deliberately restricted certain fundamental freedoms and rights -- most notably, freedom of conscience. He also argued that the Cairo Declaration introduced "in the name of defense of human rights," unacceptable discrimination against non-Muslims and women, while sanctioning the legitimacy of heinous practices -- Shari'a-compliant punishments (from corporal punishments, to mutilation, and stoning) -- "which attack the integrity and dignity of the human being."
Pew Survey data published just this past August 13, 2009 reflect, starkly, the depth and prevalence of popular support among the Muslim masses for these hideous views -- sanctioned by their theo-political Islamic leadership within the OIC -- and antithetical to our foundational Western freedoms. Specifically, the Pew findings reveal that among Pakistani Muslims, there is
These hard data provide a clear, irrefragable global context for any rational, objective consideration of the ongoing plight of apostates from Islam, such as 17 year-old Rifqa Bary.
Shame on all those in our government, law enforcement, and chattering classes who willfully ignore this context.